Saturday, June 29, 2013
Friday, June 28, 2013
|Bunnies: Proof Homosexuality Happens|
Now, I'm going to save the morality of homosexuality for a later discussion. Being mortal and strictly adherent to Matthew 7:5 I'm not entirely sure I actually get to have that conversation, but since controversy is the bread-and-butter of hits and hits are the bread-and-butter of those of us who are trying to make a living with a single ad box, you can probably expect me to be not so strict in my adherence.
As it happens, I am enjoying the reaction to the ruling more than the ruling itself. Remember, for those of you who need it, that the force and effect of the ruling was that "gay marriage is once again legal in the State of California and can be made to be legal in any state in the union that so wishes." No more, no less.
What's this have to do with me never being able to be a republican? The tea party. Speaker of the House Boehner actually did a very good job of addressing the ruling in a tasteful, responsible way. Then, the right wing of his own party jumped up and shot the chances of a Republican presidency in 2016 right in the rear.
I'm going to start with the statements that are truly egregious-in-fact: the statements from elected Republicans that make it clear that there should be an exam on civil procedure before you're allowed to run for office in America. I refer, of course, to Rep. Stephen Scalise. My source, of course, is the CBC.
“It’s a sad day when unelected judges change the definition of marriage and turn their backs on the will of voters and … their elected representatives,” he declared.Unelected judges overriding the tyranny of the majority is precisely why the US has a supreme court. If it didn't, there is a strong possibility that schools and businesses would still be segregated along racial lines. In the 60s, when the Jim Crowe laws were still in force an effect, they were very popular among the majority. Sometimes, the will of the voters is wrong in light of the US Constitution, and that's why Judges don't have to run for office. And shouldn't have to.
“Marriage has been debased by this decision, and the moral fibre of our country is affected greatly,” said Doug Lamalfa of California, adding that churches will now somehow be forced to “perform things that they are against.”
|Tortoises also occasionally show gay behaviour|
No Church, anywhere in the United States, is forced to perform anything. Not by this ruling or any law on the books I can find. They are simply allowed to do so. Some chruches actually embrace gay marriage: The United Church of Canada is one example, though I'm certain there is an American one. To to say that they were forced to do so only admits something the Con-Equality side doesn't want you to know - some churches bow to public opinion and allow marriage rights to the homosexuals. Admitting that would be admitting that the majority actually does want gay rights.
Redefining marriage, declared Louie Gohmert of Texas, is “usually tried at the end of a great civilization.”I've um, I've never been a fan of this argument because it lacks an appropriate humility. Rome, you ain't. Damascus, you ain't. But, ignoring for a moment the definition of great civilizations, I've never been able to find a scrap of evidence for this assertion. None. And, once tasked with arguing against gay marriage for a Logic and Debate project in college, I can actually say this was an argument I tried before. Or rather, considered trying - no evidence means no argument.
Of course, Boehner and the mainstream Republicans had the right side of this issue - we disagree, but SCOTUS is SCOTUS - but that doesn't matter, because once again, the Tea Party is hijacking the issue. And that's a shame, because, until there's a legitimate counterpoint to the Democratic Party in the US, the Dems are pretty much going to run the show.
Wednesday, June 26, 2013
I have the raw footage and stills for a new fish video gathered up, and I'm sure if I wasn't so busy trying to catch up on sleep on my days off, I could have put together an episode or two of Let's Play videos soon, as well.
Basically, the only games I play now are handheld, when I play them at all, and then only because I have time to play them at work on my lunch break.
So no game videos, no real blogging, and so on.
Tell you guys what, though. If only once a week, I will do one of the three. Honest.
Friday, June 21, 2013
So, mostly, all I've got is a heavier set of keys. And the same job as always. Only moreso, or something. So... yeah?
Now, what I really need to find is some dashi mix or even dried kombu or bonito, to dress up the rice a bit. I tried just seasoning it with tamari but it made it too dark so I dunno.
Note to myself for the future: Talapia hates ginger.
I'm innocent. Honest.
As a bit of a fiscal windfall, my birthday happens to fall in a month with three pay periods this year, so it's almost like math is giving me a birthday present. And when you think about it, that's pretty damn cool.
It's also making me remember precisely why I believe in restricted access to freedoms but having those freedoms in spades. Like enforcement for laws against underage drinking...
It is settled, by the way - I will be changing my stocking on my tank, so it's worth stating here that I'm taking dibs for the fish giveaway starting now.
For more Quick Takes, visit Conversion Diary!
Thursday, June 20, 2013
|Pocket-sized baby animals are the|
only wingman you need!
Sometimes though, it stumbles into the realm of stupidity. An internet pickup artist is publishing a book that is a good snapshot of why I will be adding large swaths of reddit to the parental controls on the off chance I ever have children who age up enough to use the internet, and a good part of the reason why I totally understand the overprotective nature of every father figure in every literary venue ever - at least where daughters are concerned.
As it boils down, this guy's style is sexual assault by degrees - basically pushing the envelope until the target's reptile brain overrides higher brain function and they assent without consenting. It preys on the fact that not all women are over-defensive psychos (and that, frankly, there are quite a few women running around with loose morals) in order to get you laid. The whole idea smacks of entitlement to sex, as if it's somehow a right of yours to pursue, to the fuzzy borders of rape, any woman you choose, and until she maces you or has someone kick the crap out of you, you're not to take no for an answer. Basically, it's the feminist position in reverse - it's not a no unless it's emphatically stated, and if there's even a little wiggle-room left in the tone, that's consent, baby!
It smacks of wearing your jeans so low that your boxers show (back in my day, that was the fast track to the ridicule of your peers... and probably still is.), substituting "Body Spray" for actual cologne, and alchohol whose quality is measured according to the formula "Proof over Price". While I agree that there seems to be some value in being forward, and I'm certainly not an expert on the subject by any stretch of the imagination, I consider not being an expert in this field to be something of a matter of pride.
I don't need to be a pickup master because I did it right the first time.
The bonus items are actually worse - in order to pad out his goals and make even more free money, the author has now been committed to promises of chapters on, among other things, Juggling Multiple Relationships. Now, I'm all for open relationships, when and if all partners are consenting to the idea. Something tells me, just from the general attitude of the rest of the book, that's not what this chapter is about.
If you have time, hop on over and report this kickstarter - the report button is at the bottom of the page.
Sunday, June 16, 2013
|Odell Park should be renamed Idyll Park|
I figure a part of that is that there's no longer a "feature" unlocked by my age. Chronological age doesn't entitle me to new rights, abilities, pay grades, or opportunities. In point of fact, a number of the rights attached to age haven't really impacted my life all that heavily and to be honest there were a few of those rights for which the age of responsibility should perhaps be elevated.
A running joke among my friends (and, increasingly, my co-workers, given the increasingly long time I tend to stay in one place) is that I'm already an old man, even when I'm often the youngest person in a group (though this is less common now among my co-workers as more and more teenagers join the work-force over the summer). In point of fact, "old man" is a sort of unrecognized byword for most of my mannerisms - mostly tied to my love of vests, sweaters, tea, and a certain ornery, almost stubborn attitude I unintentionally cultivate. I don't feel old per-se. True, I often feel older than the people I'm around (even when this is not true), and to be fair, that's a bit of an arrogant assumption in my mind.
See, when I was younger, I always associated age with maturity, and it's certainly true as a generality that there's a correlation there. However, a certain point came in the last few years where I realized that wasn't true. I've met immature individuals in their fourties and fifties (and beyond), and wound up hanging around with people far younger than me who made me feel like an irresponsible child.
And that's the key, really, is the way we define maturity. We often associate it with what we can do - voting, smoking, drinking, driving (preferably not the latter two together), and to a certain extent, that becomes what we mean by mature.
But the reason those activities were always privileges tied to age and not inherent rights was because of concerns of the consequences of those activities, when carried out by those too immature to properly weight the consequences. It's why children can't make their own medical decisions - if I was allowed to have made those calls I'd probably never have taken a single blood test, and as a result we'd never have found a medication to make me relatively stable.
|More Odell Park.|
But life is more than working, and maturity is more than employment. What I've gained in work-ethic, I haven't gained everywhere. I'm only just starting to get a handle on treating my belongings with appropriate care, and even then, there are screw-ups.
So, am I mature? Illogical question. Am I more mature for having lived a year longer than the last time I asked myself this question? I should say so.
And there's always room to grow. Otherwise, why bother counting from one birthday to the next?
Thursday, June 13, 2013
|My dearest friend among suborder|
Serpentes, the Mexican Black King Snake.
I live in an area that doesn't really have its own cuisine. A few minor delicacies, but for the most part, our foods are cribbed from French cuisine (in formal dining) and a smattering of UK and other Western European cuisines. Much like in the US, our Chinese is Americanized, our Italian is pathetic (seriously, Vitos is the worst excuse for Italian and Greek I've ever tasted), and pretty much everyone else is misrepresented - only our Japanese and our Indian is really all that authentic, at least in the city in which I live.
Home cooking, for a truly disappointing number of the locals, is Meat and Potatoes, plus whatever fast-mix "ethnic" foods might be conjured from the supermarket aisles.
Pretty early in my life and right through the bulk of high school, I developed a fascination with Japanese culture that really only broke when I stopped dreaming of going there to teach English - a dream that broke when I met the girl worth fighting for and decided to stay. During that time, I developed quite an appreciation for a number of facets of the culture, up to and including the food.
During my first year at NBCC I did what I could to incorporate that fascination into my learning - mostly by watching Japanese chefs do their thing and coming to understand the composition of traditional Japanese meals. In the end, I haven't learned that many Japanese recpies - about the only thing I can prepare from memory is my zushi rice and the only other recipe I have written down that's authentically Japanese is the batter I use for tempura. More importantly, I've learned techniques and customs, which can be used in nearly any other form of cuisine - in essence, when I cook Japanese I often use a western flavour pallet. I also learned the ethic of leaving the flavour of the ingredients as untouched as possible - seasonings have a place on stage, but as the backup chorus and not the chief tenor.
During my second year, my interests turned to Italian. Like me, my mother trained in the culinary arts in her youth (a dream I screwed up, as I understand it. XD), and I had the good fortune to have my household menu be rather broad. Italian spoke to me. Many of my mom's best recipes are at least Italian in essence, such as her Lasagna, and one of the earliest savoury dishes I learned to prepare was a nice, hearty Bolognese sauce. Again, I didn't lock down recipes as much as I locked down techniques - pasta making being something of a skill focus for my entire second year.
The only other thing I learned that year was the importance of an understanding of ingredients - this one time, I got Chef Ritter to order in eight different types of Mushrooms so that I could spend a whole week working with them and learning the difference between the different types.
I haven't met a Mushroom I don't like... yet. Anyway, the fact of the matter remains that I don't believe in borders in cuisine. My favourite tool for plating will always be chopsticks, my favourite seasoning will probably always be garlic, and my preferred cooking oil will certainly be clarified butter. My point was that, before we start messing around with the cutting-edge trendy techniques more akin to hardware stores and medical supplies, we should ground ourselves in authentic, traditional techniques.
Tuesday, June 11, 2013
|I have come to accept this activity|
as perfectly safe, for example.
I see it all the time. Someone comes in - usually too young to understand the concept of research (so, mid-twenties), or too old to change their ways (I leave that to your interpretation), demands a totally inappropriate combination of fish for their tank size, and leaves in a huff when one person or another tells them it's a bad idea. Granted, there's no gentle way to say it, but inappropriate stocking is the most common form of animal abuse, whether we're dealing with fish or people who think that lizards can go into community setups.
However, every now and then, one has a lucid moment and can think before they speak. Instead of saying "No, putting a goldfish in a tank that small is a horrible idea" and then launching into the long-winded explanation of how stunting kills fish, we can occasionally remember to say instead "Here, let me show you a better arrangement" without even pausing to explain why the original is bad (until we're asked, of course). By then, whoever is on the receiving end of our activism has already bought into the idea of our better suggestions and is listening to our advice less in the frame of us being a 'retail wage slave/under-trained sales guy' and more in the frame of "passionate veteran fishkeeper" - which in at least the case of our location, not a single person is less than a six-year veteran of the hobby (I, actually, have the least experience).
This is actually true of any ideology. It's a skill many humanists, and other ideological salespeople (feminists being the flavour of the month, but also evangelists and scientists, to name a few) frankly lack. I myself have only the vaguest understanding of it existing on an academic level and certainly don't find it reflexive, so I can at least understand why it's underused as a tactic. I guess you could call it a bait and switch. In sales, we called it up-selling. At Teavana, I frequently used it to down-sell from something expensive but ineffectual to something that would actually work for the complaints given - a trick that provided a few very lucrative relationships.
It seems to me the most common path an ideologue takes looks something like this:
<Insert argument here> is the most preferable ideal. You disagree? You must be <insert denigrating adjective here>.Or, to elucidate it in familiar form:
Stocking a tank as is appropriate to the size of the system is the most preferable ideal. You disagree? You must be abusive to animals.
Marriage equality if the state is allowed to marry individuals is the most preferable idea. You disagree? You must be hateful.
Women are constantly oppressed in our society. You disagree? You must be an ignorant pawn of the patriarchy.
Faith in Christ is the most preferable ideal. You disagree? You must be proud in your sin.
Taking preventative action toward climate change is the most preferable ideal. You disagree? You must be wilfully ignorant.
|This fish, for example, should not exist.|
The next time you disagree with someone, no matter how breathtakingly stupid they are, con them into agreeing with you, rather than telling them flat-out that they're breathtakingly stupid. Who knows - you might actually get them to agree with you. For an example of this technique in live action in a non-sales context, consider the very well-written "My Journey Toward the Church" series by Cam over at A Woman's Place.
Sunday, June 9, 2013
|Sooner or later, we all return to our roots.|
Today, the culinary world is changing. New techniques emerge - some the product of the shrinking of the world, and others, the product of its expansion. In a world where the idea of a terrine can be as exotic as sushi, and where liquid nitrogen and agar are at home in the kitchen as the science classroom, it often seems as though there are no limits. And there aren't, and perhaps there shouldn't be.
But when you take food as a living - whether you are a professional chef, a homemaker, or somewhere in between - you need roots that go deeper than the latest trends. No amount of passion is going to save you when jellied escargot, cryogenic sorbets, and inkjet sushi fade from fashion. This is not an argument against the trends, but a caution.
Before we went to space, we had to get off the ground. Before a person walks, they must learn to crawl.
There are no borders, but there is foundation. Before you can innovate your cuisine, you must learn it. But what is your cuisine? Is it merely the cuisine of the area you lived in? You received formal education in cooking - is your cuisine French? No. Your cuisine is the food that switches you on. It's the food that gets the blood going, the food you turn to when you can't decide where to turn.
Dig deep. Rosanjin and Escouffier are of equal merit, and their merit is greater than Bartolli or Oliver, if you take my meaning. There's no necessity to limit yourself by one nationality, one author, or one chef. However, technique is the understanding. There can be no sauce without the soup, without the stock, without the bladework. With no sauce there can be no pasta, no fish, no steak. Without rolls there could be no pastry, without pastry, no dessert, without dessert, no fun.
For every technique the chef refuses to learn or utilize, there is a loss of control. How can we complain about the amount of salt or other additives in our salami if we are unwilling to do our own charcuterie? What better way to secure your body against saccharine than to make your own sorbet? How are you to defend your children's health, without an understanding of what you give them?
Cooking is tradition. Tradition, is innovation. The best chef is the one who can serve the food closest to him, in the manner most pleasing to the guests, without the need of inventing a thing.
Monday, June 3, 2013
|Couldn't wait until sunset to take a photo.|
Interestingly, the high light has actually changed some of my plants, narrowing the leaves of my amazon swords. This was predicted, but I did not expect it to go on so quickly.
Speaking in general, this tank has been having some growing pains. That sand there has turned out to be an artificial produce of macerated limestone and sandstone - the included limestone has been a strong buffering agent that has slowly, but steadily, been raising my pH. To counteract this, I have to dose heavily with acidifiers and step up my water change regiment - the filter's back to filtering over granulated peat, I'm going through tropical extracts like crazy. The result is dark water that the fish absolutely love, but no real change in pH.
|Odessa Barb and Denison's Torpedo Barb frolic near the Mystery Plant.|
As you know, however, I'm moving. The city I'm moving to has a very different tapwater - it's generally harder and therefore generally more alkaline than one would expect from the city water here where I live - it's much closer to our well water. Now, I can continue to keep my fish the way I have been - aggressively treating and pre-conditioning my water to drive the pH down. If I do that, I should probably replace my substrate entirely, preferably with another sand, in which case, such a tedious replacement only might help. The new sand could be full of carbonates, which would only exacerbate the problem, especially if I'm dealing with the harder, more alkaline water to start with. Now, it's possible (with a small army of buckets) to precondition my water-change water by steeping leaf litter or dried ketapang in it, to make it more acidic and softer, but that brings out the tedium and there likely won't be the space for it - not to mention that standing water is a great way to breed fruit flies.
|Odessa gets an honour guard from most of the Denisonii barbs.|
|Need to hide that wiring better...|
Having said that, this tank is doing very well. It killed my nerite snails somehow (probably a crummy acclimation, as snails are difficult to acclimate properly in my experience), but other than that, I've not lost a single fish except the beta - even the notoriously finnicky cardinal tetras are still in their full complement.
|The Betta in question, and not a flattering photo. The white is more|
pronounced in reality.
Also, the majority of my plants will be up for grabs, once I decide which ones to keep, in particular cuttings of the Egeria Densa and select clones of my Amazon Swords.